Chicago Bulls General Manager Gar Forman announced today that Tom Thibodeau will not be retained as the team’s head coach.
Chicago Bulls Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said, “The Chicago Bulls have a history of achieving great success on and off the court. These accomplishments have been possible because of an organizational culture where input from all parts of the organization has been welcomed and valued, there has been a willingness to participate in a free flow of information, and there have been clear and consistent goals. While the head of each department of the organization must be free to make final decisions regarding his department, there must be free and open interdepartmental discussion and consideration of everyone’s ideas and opinions. These internal discussions must not be considered an invasion of turf, and must remain private. Teams that consistently perform at the highest levels are able to come together and be unified across the organization-staff, players, coaches, management and ownership. When everyone is on the same page, trust develops and teams can grow and succeed together. Unfortunately, there has been a departure from this culture. To ensure that the Chicago Bulls can continue to grow and succeed, we have decided that a change in the head coaching position is required. Days like today are difficult, but necessary for us to achieve our goals and fulfill our commitments to our fans. I appreciate the contributions that Tom Thibodeau made to the Bulls organization. I have always respected his love of the game and wish him well in the future.”
Following 21 years in the NBA as an assistant coach (he was an advance scout in 1991-92), Chicago named Thibodeau the team’s head coach on June 23, 2010. During his five seasons at the helm of the Bulls, Thibodeau’s teams compiled an overall record of 255-139 (.647). The Bulls advanced to the playoffs five times during Thibodeau’s tenure, where he posted a postseason record of 23-28 (.451).
“When Tom was hired in 2010, he was right for our team and system at that time, and over the last five years we have had some success with Tom as our head coach,” said Chicago Bulls General Manager Gar Forman. “But as we looked ahead and evaluated how we as a team and an organization could continue to grow and improve, we believed a change in approach was needed.”
Well we all knew it was going to happen, the Tom Thibodeau era was effectively over the second the Bulls lost to the Cavs in the Eastern Conference Semi’s. Everyone who follows this team as a fan knew the Bulls were going in a different direction, the only question was whether or not they could trade him for a pick., obviously that didn’t pan out.
So how do I feel knowing it was inevitable? Torn. Torn because Tom Thibodeau is a great NBA Coach, top 5 in the league. Think about some of the teams he has gotten to 50. He had the 4th highest winning % the last 4 years and that wasn’t an accident. I loved knowing that Tom Thibodeau would always put the Bulls in a spot to succeed. But then you have to take a step back and realize it’s not all about wins and losses. Tom Thibodeau’s relationship with the Front Office was never ever going to be repaired. It started with Korver and Asik walking, then Ron Adams got fired, and this year the minutes restrictions was put in place by the FO. I mean Tom Thibodeau was convinced the Front Office was bugging his office, you think that’s a healthy relationship? Add in the fact that by some reports the players had started to turn on him and his taskmaster ways and it was never going to get better. So what do you do? You either fire the Front Office or you fire the Coach. People should know by now that it is more often than not the Coach, especially when you have Jerry Reinsdorf as your owner, who is without a doubt one of the most loyal men in sports (his loyalties clearly lie with Gar/Pax). So that’s the end of the Tom Thibodeau era. And you know what? I know for a fact the next coach won’t be as good as Tom Thibodeau but it still is the right move. You can’t do the same thing over and over with the same results and expect things to change, not when everyone hates each other. It’s time for a fresh start, Gar/Pax will put someone in the seat that they can control and Tom Thibodeau will go on to have success with another franchise. I don’t like it but I understand it, and that’s all you can really do here.
Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.
And smile a little more.